Firm goes bust after 20 years of hiring out heavy equipment
THE delightfully-named Wayne Rabbitts (illustrated) launched a firm in Gladstone 20 years ago specialising in civil construction and related fields.
The family-owned Rabco Plant Hire Pty Ltd rented out heavy equipment for the likes of earthmoving, environmental remediation, heavy haulage, waste management and the like.
Over the years it had a hand in plenty of major Central Queensland projects, including work on the Wiggins Island coal export terminal and LNG facilities on Curtis Island.
But sadly Rabco has fallen in a heap now thanks to a toxic mix of a dispute with a major creditor chasing several hundred thousand dollars and the industry-wide pall brought on by COVID-19.
The company ceased trading after a fire sale of all its gear at a recent public auction.
That generated enough cash so Rabbitts could pay off his biggest secured creditor, ANZ, which was owed about $600,000, and still have a bit left over to settle other debts.
So it wasn't terribly surprising that this week he tipped Rabco into administration, tapping Brisbane bean counter Nick Combis at Vincents for the job.
It comes less than two months after oil giant Puma Energy lodged a wind-up application in Brisbane Supreme Court against Rabco.
Combis told us the Puma debt of about $30,000 has already been paid and he expects the case to be swiftly dismissed at a hearing on Thursday.
Rabco creditors are scheduled to hold their first meeting late next week via Zoom and Combis is likely to propose an unusual way forward.
In a bid to reduce costs, he said it made sense for a "non-trading'' DOCA (deed of company arrangement) to be approved rather than placing Rabco into liquidation.
RIPPING OFF CLIENTS
Still up north, we learned yesterday that a Townsville financial planner is facing anywhere from 10 to 14 years in the iron motel for defrauding his clients.
A bloke named Anthony Vivian Dick (a name so apt you just could not make it up) has pleaded guilty to ripping off about $1.1 million from 13 clients between 2006 and late 2017.
Back in February he was charged with 11 counts of fraud after he siphoned amounts of anywhere from $5000 to $30,000 from customers of his now-defunct Advantage Financial Services.
Dick, a 55-year-old native of Malaysia, took the money out of superannuation funds, pensions and personal savings accounts.
The ill-gotten funds, according to ASIC, were splashed out on all sorts of personal indulgences.
Records show Dick he has held a financial services license since 2004 and launched the Advantage business in late 2013.
We couldn't reach him for comment on Wednesday.
THE RIGHT NOTE
These are dark days for the arts, with all our traditional venues for music, dance and theatre sitting empty and forlorn.
So it was heartening to learn this week that the next Mozart in our midst could very well be gaining knowledge and training despite the hurdles thrown up by coronavirus.
Members of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra plan to continue their work with UQ this year, providing guidance and mentorship to nearly 130 aspiring young musicians.
The partnership was struck up five years ago and has helped about 550 students in that time.
It sounds like all the usual features of our new virus-driven work spaces, especially Zoom video meetings, have been deployed to make the tie up a reality.
QSO boss Craig Whitehead said these included online orchestral training, group tutorials, student forums and career development sessions.
"We have been fortunate to be able to pivot quickly to the online learning space, to enable our student programs with UQ to continue, and of course having their commitment to the partnership has been extraordinary during this time,'' Whitehead said.
Originally published as Gone bust after 20 years of hiring out heavy equipment